Monday, 6 April 2020

Karunanidhi flogging a dead horse

Updated: October 23, 2010 4:00 pm

That a politician can stoop to any extreme extent was witnessed when Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, Mr M Karunanidhi virtually took a reverse somersault on his response to the Allahabad High Court verdict on the Ayodhya issue, barely a few days after having modestly welcomed it as a judgment ”that can satisfy both sides”. Unwilling to rub the minorities on the wrong side, Karunanidhi has now chosen to play the Aryan-Dravidian card to criticise the verdict for “legitimising the superstitious beliefs”. Subtly rubbishing the Allahabad High Court’s Ayodhya verdict, Mr Karunanidhi has said that the Aryan civilisation that tried to upstage the Dravidian race is keen on inculcating irrational beliefs in the people without any basis. According to a report in Deccan Herald, in a letter to party cadres on October 4, published in the DMK organ Murasoli, Karunanidhi has sought to draw an odd parallel between the High Court verdict with some “historical deficiencies” in chronicling the life and times of the 10th century AD Tamil king, Raja Raja Chola. Referring to the judgment’s assertion that the disputed site in Ayodhya was believed to be the birthplace of Lord Rama from time immemorial, going by Hindu beliefs and practices, Mr Karunanidhi said that Ram was said to be born in Treta Yuga, calculated to be about 17 lakh years ago. While the HC verdict could say “with certainty” about something that happened at “an unimaginable past of 17 lakh years back”, “it is lamentable that we in this part of the country are unable to know anything with certainty about how Raja Raja Chola, who had reigned supreme just 1,000 years back, had met with his death, where he was laid to rest or about the memorial pillar raised for him then,” the DMK leader said.

                Thus he himself is harping on the Aryan-Dravidian myth. Though he appears to be forgetting that at the World Classical Tamil Conference held in Coimbatore on June 25, 2010, a Finland-based Indologist Prof Asko Parpola, in a landmark presentation that was a complete turnaround from singing paeans to the 86-year-old Dravidian patriarch Mr Karunanidhi, demolished the Aryan-Dravidian divide as a myth. However, I would not go into the details of Prof Parpola’s presentation, but it is worth mentioning that Prof. Parpola was in Coimbatore to receive Kalaignar Mu Karunanidhi Classical Tamil Award from the hands of the President of India Pratibha Patil. Interestingly, his nomination was selected at a meeting chaired by Mr Karunanidhi himself out of 230 nominations received from various countries. However, conclusions of the research presented by him must have had the effect of pulling the carpet from under the feet of octogenarian Dravidian patriarch Mr Karunanidhi who left the proceedings half-way. Furthermore, a pathbreaking study by Harvard and indigenous researchers on ancestral Indian populations says that there is a genetic relationship between all Indians and more importantly, the hitherto believed “fact”, that Aryans and Dravidians signify the ancestry of north and south Indians might, after all, be a myth. The study was conducted by the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology scientists in collaboration with researchers at Harvard School of Public Health and the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT. There are also archaeological evidences to prove the falsity of the Aryan invasion theory.

                But an adamant Karunanidhi would not abstain from stoking the fire of hatred. It is to be noted that earlier in the case of Ram Setu, when in the wake of central government’s bungling in the affidavit submitted by the ASI to the Supreme Court and consequently withdrawing it after a nationwide protest from Hindu majority, a sulking Karunanidhi felt let down by the Centre and hence, fired his anti-Hindu diatribe. He had said that there was nothing wrong in the affidavit, which mentioned that Lord Rama, Ramayana and Ram Setu were mere myth and there is no historical proof of their existence. But Ram’s birthplace has been identified and accepted by the Allahabad High Court not only on the basis of the faith and belief of millions of Hindus through the ages, but also on the basis of historical or empirical evidence.

                The fact is that even die-hard Muslims and Hindus have, instead of playing the communal card, started feeling the need for an amicable and mutual agreement outside of the courts. But the politician in Mr Karunanidhi, who has been thriving on vote bank politics by appeasing Muslims, while not harbouring any heartfelt sympathy for him, feels let down. Therefore, one can understand Mr Karunanidhi’s flip-flop. With elections to the state assembly approaching, he has made good use of an opportunity, in the hope of getting into the good books of the minority community. So, in his own inimitable style, he has invoked the now-dead Dravidian and Lemuria theory. Mr Karunanidhi has rendered long years of service to Tamil Nadu, but has he ever ordered any research into the history of the Chola kingdom, particularly Raja Raja Chola? Is there any dispute pending anywhere regarding the king’s birthplace or date of birth? If Mr Karunanidhi is really interested in learning more about Raja Raja Chola, he should bestow the research work to scholars by allocating money and manpower. Superstition and having faith in the presence of Almighty God are two different things and cannot be loosely compared. The Aryan-Dravidian divide is uncalled for and has no relevance to Ayodhya verdict. As a Chief Minister, Mr Karunanidhi should respect all religions even if he has no faith in any God.

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